This brief essay by Gordon Berlin, first published by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, builds on MDRC’s experience as the intermediary in the nation’s first operational Social Impact Bond to describe three broad challenges facing the Pay for Success movement as it moves from promising concept to on-the-ground implementation.
Early Lessons from the New York City Social Impact Bond
A social impact bond (SIB) is an innovative way to fund promising new programs at no cost to taxpayers. This report describes the first operational SIB in the U.S., explaining how an intervention for youth incarcerated at Rikers Island was developed, how the unique financing mechanism was arranged, and how the program was adapted and implemented at full scale.
This article, first published in Community Development Investment Review, proposes a vision of a social impact bond model that moves beyond just achieving cost-savings to spurring innovation, knowledge-building, rigorous evaluation, and, potentially, outcomes that achieve other socially desirable goals.